In our area of Wisconsin, we're able to scout a good amount of public lands by watching food sources (typically agricultural fields) that border these county or state-owned properties. Although the ag fields are typically private and as such, are off-limits to hunting, it's much less difficult than one would expect to effectively pattern these animals from your vehicle on the blacktop and at great distances.
The key to this strategy is simple and boils down to quality optics, as public roads often limit how close you can actually get to the animals you're scouting. A great deal of the scouting we do in this manner is done from distances of over a half mile or more and using a spotting scope is imperative in these situations. Binoculars, as important as they may be, are often ineffective at these distances in accurately estimating both antler size and the age of the deer. Used in conjunction with a good camera, a spotting scope can also provide you with quality photos of the deer you’re after!
The images of the 11-point below were taken through the lens of a Nikon Prostaff Spotting Scope. For more information on this product, click on the image below: